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Jordan v. DEA, No. 22-2195, 2024 WL 1076742 (D.D.C. Mar. 8, 2024) (Boasberg, J.)


Jordan v. DEA, No. 22-2195, 2024 WL 1076742 (D.D.C. Mar. 8, 2024) (Boasberg, J.)

Re:  Request for names of DEA agents involved in plaintiff’s criminal case

Disposition:  Granting defendant’s renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court relates that, following an “agree[ment] to conduct a search for the December 28, 2016, administrative subpoena of [plaintiff’s] cell-phone number and to produce it subject to any FOIA exemptions,” “[defendant] contends that it conducted an adequate search.”  “As the DEA found the only document [plaintiff] sought – i.e., the administrative subpoena – the Court need not tarry over this issue.”
  • Exemption 7, Threshold; Exemption 7(C):  “Because the Court agrees that Exemption 7(C) applies . . . it need not consider the other proffered exemptions.”  The court finds that “[t]he redacted information . . . was properly withheld under Exemption 7(C).”  First, the court finds that “[t]here is little doubt that the withheld information here – which comprises the names of the DEA personnel involved in the law-enforcement investigation of [plaintiff] – was compiled for law-enforcement purposes.”  Next, the court finds that, to “[b]egin with the privacy interests involved[,]” “[l]aw-enforcement officials – like those whose information Plaintiff seeks – have an interest in preserving their privacy.”  Regarding the public interest, the court finds that “[i]n this case, [plaintiff] does not provide any evidence, let alone specific evidence, to support a public-interest claim – e.g., that the disclosure of the individuals’ names is necessary to confirm or refute compelling evidence that the agency is engaged in illegal activity.”  “The Court consequently finds, as the DEA has persuasively shown, that the release of the information at issue would not serve the core purpose of FOIA because it would not shed light on the operations and activities of the Government.”  “Therefore, with nothing to tip the scale in favor of the public interest to a degree that could possibly overcome the privacy of those named, the withheld private information is properly exempt from disclosure.”
  • ​​​​​​​Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements:  “The Court considers one more issue:  segregability.”  “Here, Defendant has satisfied its obligation to segregate and release non-exempt information.”  “The DEA has established that it has reviewed all five pages of the administrative subpoena on a line-by-line basis to identify information exempt from disclosure and determined that there is no additional meaningful, non-exempt information that can be reasonably segregated and released from the information being withheld.”
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 7
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7, Threshold
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Updated April 9, 2024